“Go for it” isn’t just about taking that leap on the end of a bungee cord or pulling the parachute in your first skydiving adventure.

Nor is it just about taking the plunge and asking someone to marry you or signing the mortgage documents on your first home. Going for it isn’t always about experiences that make you lose sleep or make your heart race. We “go for it” every day in our personal and professional lives. A risk is a risk is a risk – regardless of its size or scope. Even small decisions to “go for it” can put us a bit outside of our comfort zone.

I work for an online technology company – CXN360. We help growers trade grain online. I’ve met thousands of growers over the last couple of years, and many of them “go for it” immediately and sign up. Others take a wait and see approach. No two people see our technology the same and we all adopt new things (not just technology) at a different pace. There are as many variables as there are individuals.

When we look at ag tech, we see all kinds of new things coming to the market – whether you use them in the field, in the office, or in the tractor. Some of them will see a quick and broad adoption because they are no-brainers for most of us – the benefits are immediately obvious and the risks (most often the costs) are minimal or justify the benefits.

The ag tech we’ve already gone for

My professional career has been fortunate. I’ve been part of introducing several different technologies to the market. When I was a young summer student, I promoted the new-at-the-time Roundup Ready technology with summer tours – in the days before Monsanto introduced their Technology Use Agreement. I was also part of promotion efforts to reduce tillage across Canada, use preharvest applications for weed control, and the adoption of more and more genetically enhanced seed varieties. My career has also crossed paths with different fertilizer, chemical, seed, and consultant launches. I’ve been part of a lot of change in our industry.

The amount of change we have seen in agriculture since the mid 90’s has been phenomenal, and I can’t imagine that the evolution is going to end any time soon. Someone somewhere might be able to create a chart that shows us how the adoption of different technologies has happened across the different provinces or by farm type. I think that chart would probably show us that there is no formula or cookie cutter approach. How much and how fast technology is adopted really comes down to how much value it provides to you, the grower.

I am biased in my opinion though, because I don’t think there is anything on the horizon that will have the impact that reduced tillage and genetic enhancements with biotechnology did. Their adoption was broad and impactful because the risk – reward balance was clear and most farming operations eventually jumped on board.

Another successful example is autosteer. It’s predecessors foam markers and light bars were going through their own adoption cycle not so long ago. Autosteer was adopted quickly on most farms because the benefit was clear and significant, and the technology was relatively easy to adopt.

There’s also a long list of failures – especially in technology – that seem like a good idea but fail to deliver on value for their customers. In our every-day lives, you don’t have to look much further than flash-in-the pan products like the Segway or Hoverboards which both looked fun and promising but give no real value to the average person. But it isn’t always technology that fails. Take the 1957 Ford Edsel which was taken off the market in 1960 because Ford failed to realize that people were looking for smaller and more economic vehicles. Or the iconic New Coke, designed to taste more like Pepsi but failing to realize that their customers valued the flavour of Coke. They all failed to give the market what they wanted and valued.

Who jumps in and who dips their toes? It’s all about personal value.

Does something that sounds too good to be true make you skeptical? It does to me. When I hear about a new product or service with bold claims, my skepticism sends me off to find more information and understand it better.

Whether or not you adopt a new technology hinges on the value YOU get and YOUR risk reward balance. Some of us are early adopters of some things and late adopters or others. Timing is a factor. So is the size of the risk. Some of us will never, ever, just “go for it” if the risk/ cost is high – even if the value is immediate and obvious. Others have no problem with it.

So, how do you weigh your personal risk – reward? It usually all starts with answering these questions:

  1. What benefit or value am I going to receive?
  2. Is that benefit better than or more efficient than the way I am doing things today?
  3. How is the company going to use my information? (I sure don’t need more spam)
  4. What are my options to receive the benefit? Do I have to log in? Do I get email?
  5. How easy is it for me to opt out later if I don’t like it?
  6. What is the long-term cost? Is pricing transparent? (Nobody is a fan of the old bait and switch.)

Answering these questions helps ease my skepticism. Each scenario presents itself uniquely, and I either go for it or I don’t.

Why I want you to go for CXN360

Someone at a social event this spring asked me about our business. After explaining what we do, they asked what I would want for the business if I had only one wish. My answer was that every grower in Western Canada would “go for it” and sign up for a CXN360 membership. I want every grower to get exposed to more opportunities to sell their grain, and I want more buyers connecting with more growers. This is one of those technologies that can and should be broadly adopted – the risk and reward balance, to me, is a no-brainer. We buy, sell, and research things online every day. It’s a logical step for technology adoption in our industry. The risks are low – your data is protected and secure, you can choose your subscription (from free to paid), and the learning curve is minimal. The rewards are high – you’re more accessible to grain buyers, you have access to more deals, and you become more efficient in how you close your deals.

It might sound too good to be true, but the CXN360 team is just a bunch of western Canadian folks who want to see western Canada continue to be leaders on a global stage and we feel this is one of those tools that can help.